Portugal now accepting lateral flow tests for travel from UK

·2-min read
Lonely planet: a beach on the Portuguese Algarve (Simon Calder)
Lonely planet: a beach on the Portuguese Algarve (Simon Calder)

Portugal is now accepting lateral flow tests for holidaymakers arriving from the UK, as well as EU and Schengen countries.

Previously, travellers were required to present a negative result from a more expensive and time-consuming PCR test.

The rule change is being introduced with immediate effect after being agreed upon by Resolution of the Council of Ministers on 9 June. 

The amended regulations state that airlines should only allow passengers to board flights to stay, or stopover in mainland Portugal, if they can present proof of a negative result from either a PCR or rapid antigen (lateral flow). 

Tests must have been carried out within 72 or 24 hours respectively prior to boarding.

Algarve Tourism, the tourist board for the holiday hotspot, which is a popular tourist destination for British travellers, has said the move will enable cheaper travel.

João Fernandes from Algarve Tourism said: “This will significantly lower the cost of travelling to the Algarve. In the meantime, we continue to implement strict social distancing measures and health and safety operating procedures to keep both tourists and residents safe.”

Watch: Should I book a holiday in 2021?

The country was initially on the UK’s quarantine-free “green list” of “safe” destinations to which the government doesn’t advise against leisure travel.

However, after the first review three weeks after the green list was announced, Portugal was removed and placed on the amber list instead, joining the vast majority of Europe and the US.

Travel from Portugal to Britain now necessitates a 10-day quarantine for arrivals, plus a package of two PCR tests to be taken on days two and eight of self-isolation.

Travellers must also test negative prior to departure for the UK, though rapid antigen tests are also admissible.

The next review of the UK government’s travel traffic light system is scheduled to take place on 24 June. After the last update, which saw no new countries added to the green list, expectations aren’t high that more mainstream tourism destinations will go green.

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